Bus rider fatally shot amid spate of violence on L.A. Metro

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20: Riders board a METRO bus at North Hollywood Station on Thursday, May 20, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Brian van der Brug / {credit
Mayor Karen Bass has ordered an increase in law enforcement presence on L.A. Metro buses and subways. On Thursday, a Metro bus rider was killed in the City of Commerce. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

A Metro passenger was fatally shot on a bus Thursday afternoon in the City of Commerce hours after Mayor Karen Bass ordered a “surge” in law enforcement amid alarming incidents of violence on the region’s bus and subway system.

A Metro spokesperson confirmed the shooting took place on a Line 108 bus. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has arrested a suspect, according to Metro.

Metro sources said the attack appeared to have been unprovoked.

“The tragic incident this afternoon aboard a Metro bus in the Commerce area exemplifies how violence is increasing in society overall and spilling into our local communities,” Metro said in a statement. “Metro is saddened by this incident and extends our deepest sympathies to the victim’s family.”

The Sheriff's Department said the incident happened around 4:50 p.m. on the 6200 block of Slauson Avenue, and the victim was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead. The names of the victim and the suspect have not been released.

The shooting is the latest violent attack on a Metro rider. Three people were stabbed in two incidents this week. Last month, a 66-year-old woman was fatally stabbed on the subway as she came home from her night job.

Read more: Mayor Bass orders police 'surge' on Metro bus and rail routes amid spike in violence

The violence has led to fear among some Metro users, who say they no longer feel safe riding public transit. Earlier Thursday, Bass announced she would increase deployment levels of law enforcement, though she did not say how many officers would be added or how long they would be deployed for.

“The spike in violent crime on Metro that we have recently seen against operators and riders has been absolutely unacceptable,” she said.

Homicides, aggravated assaults and robberies increased from 2019 through 2023, according to Metro’s 2023 year-end summary. There was a sharp increase in a separate category of crimes that include battery, vandalism, use of narcotics and sex offenses aboard Metro’s trains over the same period.

There were no homicides on Metro trains in 2019, but there were three in 2020, five each in 2021 and 2022, and six in 2023, according to Metro’s data. In December 2023, the B Line saw an 18% increase in total crime compared with the previous month, with an increase in aggravated assaults, robberies and larcenies.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.